"Michael Boyd often directs Shakespeare, but he's never staged Tamburlaine, a 400-year-old play that has much to reveal about power for today's audiences. John Douglas Thompson (Othello and Macbeth for Theatre for a New Audience), who has never played Marlowe, collaborates with him.
"Fiasco Theater is a young American company, whose ongoing dialogue with Shakespeare is thrilling. Through play and simplicity, they renew Shakespeare's stories in fresh ways."
The fall season will commence with The Valley Of Astonishment, conceived and directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne. The play, which was inspired by neurological research and Farid Attar's poem "The Conference of the Birds," explores the workings of the human brain.
Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine Parts I and II will follow, featuring Satchmo at the Waldorf star John Douglas Thompson as the ferocious conqueror. The two plays will be presented in one four-hour performance.
The Two Gentlemen Of Verona will be presented by Fiasco Theater. The small ensemble will bring to life the romantic comedy about mismatched lovers, which was originally produced at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The season-at-a-glance follows:
The Valley Of Astonishment
Conceived and directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne
Featuring Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni and Jared McNeill
Sept. 14-Oct. 5
"Imagine a world where every sound has a color. Where every color has a taste. Where the number 8 is a fat lady. This breathtaking new play explores the fascinating experiences of real people who see the world in a radically different light. The Valley of Astonishment is a kaleidoscopic journey into the mysteries and wonders of the human brain, inspired by years of neurological research, true stories, and Farid Attar's epic mystical poem 'The Conference of the Birds.'"
Tamburlaine, Parts I and II
By Christopher Marlowe
Directed by Michael Boyd
Featuring John Douglas Thompson
Nov. 1–Dec. 21
"John Douglas Thompson stars as Tamburlaine, the unstoppable and ferocious low-born conqueror who humbles kings and emperors, sweeping methodically across vast territories while gathering ever more strength from his driving will, his boundless self-image, and his astonishing outpouring of stunning verse. Nineteen actors play sixty roles in this magisterial yet tightly conceived epic event that chronicles Tamburlaine's rise from upstart Scythian shepherd to ruler of Persia (Part I), and then his strangely precipitous, grief-suffused fall (Part II). Shocking and awesome, repellent and fascinating in equal measure, Marlowe's hero is disturbingly modern. Edited by Michael Boyd, the two parts will be combined into one quick-moving, four-hour evening with a thirty-minute intermission."
The Two Gentlemen Of Verona
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jessie Austrian and Ben Steinfeld
April 24, 2015 – May 24
"A seemingly simple tale of shifting devotions among mismatched lovers, it helped launch the genre of rom-com. Yet its delightful madcap surface conceals undercurrents, as its putative hero proves a cad and a faithless friend. Fiasco Theater's zesty and streamlined six-actor Cymbeline was a highlight of TFANA's 2011 season. In Two Gentlemen, which premiered at Folger Theatre, the company's acute understanding of text, spare design and brilliantly versatile use of props, accessories, original music, and shifting accents combine to create a charming, nuanced and magical experience. Letters fall from the flies, rope-ladders materialize out of nowhere, and a handful of actors transform into outlaws, clowns, servants, and even a grumpy, ungrateful dog."
Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center is located at 262 Ashland Place in Brooklyn. Visit tfana.org for more information.